The Gatineau Olympiques would have been happy to leave Halifax with a split. Instead, they’re leaving with a sweep.
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Ryan Mior’s outstanding goaltending and Claude Giroux’s highlight-reel heroics lifted the Olympiques to a 4-3 double-overtime victory over the Halifax Mooseheads last night, stunning the crowd of 6,503 at the Metro Centre.
The Olympiques, who also won a 2-1 overtime thriller on Saturday, have a firm 2-0 lead in the QMJHL best-of-seven semifinal, with the next three games in Gatineau.
Giroux, who leads the league with 31 points in 12 games, jumped on an Andrew Bodnarchuk turnover, danced in alone on Mark Yetman, and went roof for the winner at 7:06.
It was Giroux’s second of the night.
“They played a great game — they have a lot of depth up front and they didn’t make many mistakes,” said Mior, who was the first star with 47 saves, including 18 in overtime.
“But when you’ve got a Claude Giroux coming down in overtime, sometimes it’s not going to matter who’s in the net and who’s on (defence). He just made a great play.”
The Mooseheads battled back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in the second and third periods to force overtime.
Bryce Swan and Peter-James Corsi rallied the troops the first time, while Tomas Knotek’s cannon from the top of the faceoff circle beat Mior to tie it 3-3 midway through the third.
They proceeded to take over the game in overtime, with glorious chance after glorious chance. The 20-year-old Mior made diving paddle saves on Swan and Yuri Cheremetiev that had both players looking to the rafters for answers.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” said Swan, whose team fired 33 low-percentage shots on Mior in Game 1.
“One of our goals was to get more shots and we accomplished that. You can’t do much more than that and eventually it’s going to pay off. We had a lot of great chances.”
While the Mooseheads were all over the ice offensively, they can’t shut down Giroux and linemate Paul Byron. The duo has combined for five of Gatineau’s six goals and is using its speed to draw penalties, force turnovers, and generate chances.
“Turnovers cost us the game,” Corsi said. “Giroux is a great player but we can’t give him chances like that. It was a nice goal but it was our fault that we gave him that chance.”
Game 3 is Wednesday.